If you're itching to unleash your inner surgeon onto your DS after all this Trauma Center brouhaha, you might want to consider picking up LifeSigns: Surgical Unit in the meantime. Since we haven't played it, we can't recommend it ourselves (although some of our readers seem to be fond of this title), but it happens to be on sale this week at GameQuest Direct.
The sale will last until April 8th, giving you plenty of time to consider whether or not you need another surgery-sim-meets-soap-opera in your life, but an $11 markdown is a pretty nice deal. Also, thanks to CAG, you can use the code CAG1SHIP in the bottom left corner for free shipping.
Yet, the game did end up on some worst lists of 2007, so caveat emptor.
Reader Comments (Page 1 of 1)
4-02-2008 @ 5:54PM
Joe H said...
This game is absolutely horrible, its more of a soap opera than a surgery game.
4-02-2008 @ 6:33PM
I have to say, this game is the ultimate 'love-it-or-hate-it.' If you don't mind the fact it's generally unpolished in terms of script and you don't mind drama, there's some good fun to be had there.
4-02-2008 @ 6:36PM
The story sucks so bad, and there's too much of it. There's investigation like in Phoenix Wright, except they made it not fun. I quit before I got to the surgery, that's how bad everything else sucked. I hear the surgery is pretty good, though.
4-02-2008 @ 8:43PM
This game rocks. Phoenix Wright but with surgery instead of court.
4-02-2008 @ 9:40PM
Mad Martin Kinderhook said...
Eh heh, based on that link it looks like I’ve been assigned the official Guy Who Doesn’t Hate Lifesigns by the DS Fanboy staff, so I’ll lend my impressions again to help people decide whether they’ll want this.
How this game differs from Trauma Center:
Lifesigns is not a surgery game at heart. The entire game takes, from my experience, roughly fifteen hours to get through, little of which is spent in surgery. It is largely an interactive storybook where the player controls the protagonist, who happens to be a doctor, although the story is not entirely medical-themed–two out of five of the chapters in the game don’t even take place in a hospital, and even within the hospital, the plot tends to center on the (sometimes rather strange) personal life of the doctor.
Trauma Center has quicker pacing. There tend to be only a few minutes’ worth of dialogue/plot advancement/et cetera between surgeries, whereas in Lifesigns you can spend hours between surgeries, of which I believe there are less than ten in the game.
There’s far greater doctor-patient interaction in Lifesigns. By the time most surgeries come about, you really feel motivated to save the individual, whereas in Trauma Center you’re presented with body after body and never feel any motivation beyond simply not killing the patient or running out of time.
Lifesigns also has an extra pre-surgery mode that involves diagnosing the patient using three different tools—the eye, hand, and stethoscope. This generally only takes one or two minutes, but I experienced a couple of instances where I nearly drove myself mad trying to complete diagnosis. Don’t be ashamed to use a walkthrough once or twice on this one.
Lifesigns’ surgeries are also designed differently—not only are all images 2D rather than Trauma Center’s 3D, but there is no standard tool set used with every surgery like in Trauma Center. You’ll be given a tool and told how to use it, and once you finish the given step of the operation the process repeats until the operation is finished.
There are no fantasy elements like the Healing Touch, GUILT, et cetera.
Lifesigns also features a mode not unlike Phoenix Wright’s psyche-locks. Often you will have to present an item or profile to advance the game, but on rare instances this psyche-lock-esque mode appears and one must use a series of items and profiles to convince an individual of something.
You will not like this game if:
You don’t like text-heavy games in general. This is on par with the textiest point-and-click adventure games on the DS.
You were off-put by Trauma Center’s anime designs. The characters in Lifesigns are even less western.
You have little interest in what some would call a soap-opera plot. There’s a lot of romance and drama, alright, and family issues to boot. If you don’t find the protagonist sympathetic or any of the other characters likable it can be incredibly difficult to muster the will to continue.
You’re looking for a surgery sim first and foremost—explained above.
You’re a stickler for spelling and grammar. Typos abound, and whoever translated the game had the annoying habit of throwing the Japanese title “–san” around a lot even when it wasn’t appropriate to make it seem more authentically Japanese.
You’re young and there’s a chance of your parents seeing you poking semi-nude bodies around with a stylus and getting the wrong impression. Hey, it’s one of the (many times unpleasant) realities of being a doctor, but…
You’re looking for something with re-play value. You can use points acquired during the game to unlock surgeries once you’ve beaten it, but the surgeries aren’t so amazing that they’re worth playing over again.
You might like this game if:
Any of the negatives in the last section sounded like positives.
I, personally, was only off-put by the soap opera elements of the plot and the incredibly long time between surgeries. You, the individual reading this, may be less or more tolerant of some of these other “flaws” or differences from Trauma Center. But, in the end, roughly $20 is a good price for it. Probably the price it should have debuted at, even.
4-03-2008 @ 12:24AM
Robert Baldwin said...
As one of the other resident defenders of Lifesigns I think i can concur with almost all your points save for
"There are no fantasy elements like the Healing Touch, GUILT, et cetera."
Remember the elves. That being said, the actual operations did not involve carving arcane symbols into the patients.
My main issue with it was that it could have used more choices in the paths, but that being said the soap opera-esque drama element is what sold me on this title in the first place.
4-03-2008 @ 3:25PM
Mad Martin Kinderhook said...
Oh, I totally forgot about those elves. I must have blocked them from my mind because the island chapters were the two weakest of the five, in my opinion. I agree on the need for more paths--simply being able to end up with a different woman at the end of the story wasn't enough. In fact, I didn't end up with anyone--presented my stethoscope to the fortune teller instead of one of the mementos.
4-03-2008 @ 7:53AM
One of the main reasons I think this didn't do so well here is because this title, for the most part, is a distinctly Japanese adventure game. The surgeries are more mini-games than anything else and the majority of the game is just text text text. It's failure calls to mind all of those people lined up to play Doki Doki Majo Shinpan or Duel Love only to find that that the game was 95% talking and 5% touching. It also doesn't help that this is a localization of Tendo Dokuta 2 and not the first game of the series, leading to a lot of confusing and annoying backstory.